Benjamin Franklin Potts

Benjamin Franklin Potts was born January 29, 1836, and grew up on a farm in Carroll County, Ohio. He secured the rudiments of an education in a local school, clerked in a store, attended a small college in nearby Pennsylvania for a year, and taught school. After reading law in Carrollton, Ohio, he was admitted to the bar in 1859. Potts was a Democrat and attended the 1860 conventions in Charleston and Baltimore, as a staunch supporter of Stephen A. Douglas. After having raised a company in his own neighborhood, he entered the Union service as captain of the 32nd Ohio on August 20, 1861. Potts was in the West Virginia campaign in the spring of 1862 and was subsequently with General John C. Fremont at Cross Keys and Port Republic during Stonewall Jackson's celebrated Shenandoah Valley campaign. Upon the reorganization of the 32nd Ohio, Potts was advanced to lieutenant colonel on November 21, 1862, and colonel on December 28. From then until the end of the war he served in the Western theater, joining U. S. Grant's army at Memphis and serving under John A. Logan during the Vicksburg campaign. In the Atlanta campaign, the "March to the Sea," and the Carolina campaign under General W. T. Sherman, Potts was usually in command of a brigade of the XVII Corps, which fought at Big Shanty, Kennesaw, the battles around Atlanta, Jonesboro, and Lovejoy's Station. On the march through the Carolinas, Potts directed a brigade of Giles Smith's division of the XVII Corps under Frank Blair. He was made a full brigadier general on January 12, 1865, and major general by brevet to rank from March 13. After the war, having failed to obtain a colonelcy in the Regular Army, Potts resumed his Ohio law practice and was elected as a Republican representative to the state senate. In 1870 President Grant appointed him governor of the Montana Territory, a post in which he served until 1883, when he was removed by President Arthur, who had come to distrust Potts' ability to carry water on both shoulders, as between the Democratic territorial legislature and the Republican administration.  Shortly after leaving the governorship, Potts was elected to the legislature and, thereafter, devoted himself mainly to ranching near Helena, where he died on June 17, 1887, and was buried.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.